Saturday, January 9, 2010

I Survived! (Week 1)

I have officially survived my first week in a another country alone and it hasn't been to bad. I have made friends, seen new sights, attended class, ate UK food, went out, went shopping, took a taxi, road in a train, and am still alive and healthy. :)
The image to the left is of wales right where I live. It is the view I get when I walk out and to the side of my building.
I like it here, but the walking is killer. I have to walk up this huge, steep hill to get to my building each day. I would say that I should get my legs in shape quick.
I have enjoyed my first week besides some of the annoying hiccups that I have had to deal with, but as of now things are looking up. The people are still very friendly and I meet more people every time I go out to have fun. M and I get along well and are planning many trips around the UK. I can't wait to get even more use to the area and use to taking trains or taxi's everywhere, but I don't think that will take long.

One of the biggest dangers is ice. Apparently I have decided to be in Wales on one of the coldest winters they have had in years. I have saw about three people hit the ground in three days. And I, myself came very close, but luckily I was with a group of friends and just grabbed on to one of the guys. He was going to save me or come down with me, I guess, but he did save me. Yay!

Campus was closed 2 or 3 days this first week because of the snow, which in my opinion was no more that what was on the ground when I left home, but it was a big deal here. It is pretty though, the snow seems to be more powdery here, till the ice attacks. But the snow does make for a pretty sight (and picture).

Well the first week has been tough, but it got better quick. I feel like I am settling in pretty easy. And I think I really enjoy the rest of the weeks, well months, that I have left here!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Fun Quote

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

First Outing!

Finally, I made a friend here. She is really nice. I meet her because she is the only other international student coming to Glamorgan at this time; she is from Norway! Well yesterday we went shopping in the Pontypridd town for awhile. Then later that night I went over to her flat to hang out with her and her flat-mates, who seem to be much more inviting than mine. They even put my birthday on the calender, so they can bake me a cake and  we can "celebrate". They were all really nice.

 Later M (my only friend) and I went out with some other people to some bars, so that we can meet people and get out of the room. Well I ordered my first drink at a bar, it made me nervous. I felt like I was going to be arrested since the laws in the US are different. :P. Well I only ordered beer because thats what they ordered and I didn't know what to get. I hated it. So this other guy saw I wasn't really drinking my drink and went and ordered a more "girly drink" and traded with me. :) So no wasted money and a much better drink. After that bar, which was a more chill type of place we walked down the street (not even 20 foot) and came to another bar. This bar had loud music, some dancing, it was more of a party bar. I really didn't like it as much, to chaotic. For some reasons all the bars started closing around 11:30, maybe cause a weeknight, maybe cause of the weather (snow), I am not sure. So we called it a night. Still I meet a lot of people and now have more plans set up throughout this weekend and next week. :)
(pictures are of the two bars that I found online)

During this outing I met people from all over, Norway, Germany, Italy, Canada, and maybe some other places, well of course also from the UK. It was a fun time, everybody was really nice.

I can't wait for my next time going out. M and I are heading to Cardiff this Saturday to see the place, go to the Castle, and shop some. Then on Tuesday I am heading back to Cardiff with M and some other girls for some fun.

Meeting more people, experiencing the UK is going to be great.

Monday, January 4, 2010


This is a list of differences that I encounter comparing the UK to the US. I will add to it the more differences I notice. :)

1. Door Handles (sometimes)
2. Toilets (the back is hidden behind the wall in stead of being attached)
3. Outlets
4. Accent (And some people speak Welsh)
5. French Fries are call chips (yes Melissa I found a fish and chips restaurant)
6. Potato chips are called crisps
7. Steering Wheel is on the other side of the car
8. People drive on the opposite side of the road
9. Use Pounds, means different paper money and different coins
10. Shower handle is numbered 1-10, 10 making it hotter. I put it on 3 1/2 and its pretty hot.
11. Some packaging is different, such as the Skittle bag or some chip(crisp) bags.

And yes there are five differences in the picture, I took the time to find them to be sure. :)

Class Schedule!

Reading Poetry                                     Monday      11:00-1:00

American Short Story                          Monday      3:00-5:00

19th Century Literature                       Tuesday     1:00-3:00

Modernism                                             Friday        9:00-11:00

Creative Writing                                    Friday       11:00-1:00

History of The English Language         Friday       2:00-4:00

No Class on Wednesday or Thursday!!! :)
No Super Early Classes!!

I must say that I am very pleased with my schedule

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Venting Is Good

I don’t get it. I have been here for a couple of days, everyone has been nice, but I have consistently worried about food and where I need to go. The university has had me be a sitting duck for a few days now. I don’t have a phone and the international people here are all on vacation, it really aggravates me. I have to meet the woman tomorrow at 9:15 in  a building I have no clue where it’s at. I have no notebooks, no pencils, nothing, but she is expecting me to be ready for classes, when I have had no help adjusting and finding my way around here.

 I have needed to buy a converter outlet thing for a few days now, but can’t find one. Yes I borrowed the accommodations lodge and got a taxi into the town area yesterday to go shopping and find one, well the store they sent me to didn’t have one. I went into a cell phone place that was T-mobile, but they didn’t have the chip thing and sent me to another store that I couldn’t find. I did get a regular phone, but surprise the end of it is different than America’s phone outlet also.  It’s a really cute phone with a  penguin on it, but it won’t work unless I can get an American phone cord. Also, I have taken some cool pictures but can’t get them onto my computer because I left my camera cord by at my home, so that’s annoying, I am pretty sure I won’t be able to find one here. I can’t get it shipped because I don’t have an address yet.
It's all driving me a bit crazy!

 It’s been fun (way sarcastic), but I would defiantly advice the universities international program to be more ready when students arrive and have the induction service before the day the classes start. My guess is tomorrow will be a stressful day!

On a good note, the town was a pretty neat place. It has a ton of shops on like two streets and they don’t let people drive on the street. It also seems the stuff is cheaper here than in America because I bought a hair dryer, straightener, pillow, snacks, drinks, a fuse converter(wrong kind), and a phone and it was only 22 pounds. Cheaper I think. :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

People Are Extremely Nice?

I am sorry to say I was not expecting people to be nice. I figured they would stick to their business and go on their way. I am happily proved wrong of this thought continuously. Every where I have gone on this trip so far people have been extremely nice and helpful. The lady at the first airport saved my mom money since my bag was overweight she gave us the advice on which method was the best pay the 150$ charge for being 12lbs overweight or go by another back bag and just pay a 50$ charge for an extra bag. It saved about about 60$ which is better than nothing. After that on my first plan ride I sat beside this elderly lady who just loved to talk. she was very much interested in what I was doing and my travels; she also made sure to wish me luck and told me to be safe more than once. She was very nice.

After that in Memphis people were nice, but my second plane ride to Amsterdam was 8.5 hours long. I sat beside a man who put my carry-on up and answered silly questions of mine with interest. He would kindly let me out if I needed to use the rest-one with out even rolling his eyes. I was very happy about this. When the plane finally made it to Amsterdam he got my bag down for me.

People in Amsterdam were also kind, answering questions and giving extra advice. A security guard let me back through security when I went down to early without any issues. Then after that another security guard to time to compliment my southern accent. :) On this plane a guy also put my carry-on up and took it down for me. I never had to ask, but I always said thank you.

Finally in Wales, I had to get through immigration then catch a Taxi. People continued to be very nice. My Taxi driver allowed my to sit in the front with him and gave me advice on good places to go, pointed out a great castle. He was very polite the entire ride.

I arrive at my final destination and get moved in. I haven't ate in hours and realize I have no phone and my computer is dying. Every place I looked online to order was close because it was new year's eve. I went to ask the accommodation lodge where I could get food, even from just a vending machine. They were offering to order food with the phone because the vending machine wasn't enough, but then they just grab food and give to me without a second thought. Today, I was even more surprised when the same security guard that gave me some food last night brought food to my room, so "I wouldn't go hungry." I was stunned, but grateful.

Thats where I am at write now, astonished to see how nice everyone is, even giving their own food away. I am grateful for these people and their help. Also, very glad that people are much nicer than my first expectations. I hope this continues to be the case. :)
I am so happy to say not one person has been mean or even rude in the slightest way to me. As I stated these people have exceeded my expectations.

Just The Beginning

The beginning of my trip started two days ago. I boarded a plane to fly into Memphis, TN then to Amsterdam. In Amsterdam I caught a flight into Wales, my final destination. It was a fun trip taking a total of 20 hours. This being the first time I have ever flown or traveled I was nervous, but more excited than anything.  It was actually pretty easy finding the gates, getting through security, everything just went smoothly for me. The people on the flights were all nice, I always had help getting my carry-on put up and taken out of the storage on the plane by other passengers seating near me. By the time I made it to Wales I was wore out because I had to get use to the time change, of losing 5 hours, and just being jet-legged from flying and hanging around airports for two days.

I had a lot of lay over time in Memphis and Amsterdam, so I was able to explore both airports shops. Memphis didn't have nearly as much places to go as Amsterdam's airport did. That airport was huge consisting of many shops! Three or Four liquor stores, A casino, spa, many restaurants and bars, and other gift shops. So I was able to spend my time shopping and taking pictures.

I have started my awesome collection of shot glasses. I plan on getting one everywhere I go. I now have two memphis and amsterdam. They are pretty cool. I hope to have at least 10 glasses by the end of the trip, hopefully a lot more though!

Well that is the sum of my first flying adventure and how the beginning has gone.